by STEWART EDWARD WHITE
CHAPTER ONE THE OLE
The ring around the sun had thickened all day long, and the turquoise
blue of the Arizona sky had filmed. Storms in the dry countries are
infrequent, but heavy; and this surely meant storm.
We had ridden since sun-up over broad mesas, down and out of deep
canons, along the base of the mountain in the wildest parts of the territory.
The cattle were winding leisurely toward the high country; the jack rabbits
had disappeared; the quail lacked; we did not see a single antelope in the
open. "It's a case of hole up," the Cattleman ventured his opinion. "I
have a ranch over in the Double R. Charley and Windy Bill hold it down.
We'll tackle it. What do you think?" The four cowboys agreed. We
dropped into a low, broad watercourse, ascended its bed to big
cottonwoods and flowing water, followed it into box canons between rim-
rock carved fantastically and painted like a Moorish facade, until at last in
a widening below a rounded hill, we came upon an adobe house, a fruit
tree, and a round corral. This was the Double R.
Charley and Windy Bill welcomed us with soda biscuits. We turned
our horses out, spread our beds on the floor, filled our pipes, and squatted
on our heels. Various dogs of various breeds investigated us. It was
very pleasant, and we did not mind the ring around the sun.
"Somebody else coming," announced the Cattleman finally.
"Uncle Jim," said Charley, after a glance.
A hawk-faced old man with a long white beard and long white hair
rode out from the cottonwoods. He had on a battered broad hat
abnormally high of crown, carried across his saddle a heavy "eight square"
rifle, and was followed by a half-dozen lolloping hounds.
The largest and fiercest of the latter, catching sight of our group,
launched himself with lightning rapidity at the biggest of the ranch dogs,
promptly nailed that canine by the back of the neck, shook him violently a
score of times, flung him aside, and pounced on the ne